The business of Helen Ltd consists primarily of the production of electricity, district heating and cooling, as well as energy distribution and sales. Owned by the city of Helsinki, Helen Ltd is one of the biggest energy groups in Finland with over half a million customers.
Previously at Helen Ltd only the account ledger and large upcoming events were forecasted on a daily basis. It was noted that the short term cash flow management and forecasts were in need of better accuracy. This need has only increased since the start of the pandemic.
The finance department reacted by putting together a task group of experts from different departments around the company. They all had good knowledge of their sectors' cash flows and what could affect them. The group could quickly and correctly pinpoint what kind of data needed to be collected in this novel situation.
Best Tools For Functioning Finances In Corona Crisis
The current coronavirus pandemic affects everyone globally. What does the crisis look like viewed from the finance department of a major energy company? What kind of implements are most useful when the operational environment changes drastically?
Accounting Specialist Antti Hänninen answers the call in his living room. He is working from home, as is the whole finance department. Everything that can be done remotely is done on the web or by phone.
"The amount of work has increased. More invoices need sorting out than before.
Important part of mr. Hänninen’s work is improving processes. In the autumn of 2019 one such project was automating cash management and short term cash forecasting by implementing the CashForecast solution.
Previously at Helen Ltd only the accounts ledger and larger upcoming events were forecasted on a daily basis. It was noted that the short term cash flow management and forecasts were in need of better accuracy. This need has only increased since the start of the pandemic.
Luckily the CashForecast solution had already been in use at Helen Ltd for six months before the global crisis hit. The finance department reacted by putting together a task group of experts from different departments around the company. They all had good knowledge of their sectors’ cash flows and what could affect them. The group could quickly and correctly pinpoint what kind of data needed to be collected in this novel situation.
The fast pace of change means more work in the beginning.
"We implemented CashForecast at the right moment"
A well functioning system is crucial for remote work
"The amount of data I upload to CashForecast now is much larger than before. It’s a big relief that most of it is transferred automatically. This minimizes the chances for human error."
One big plus is the reliability of the SaaS solution in these exceptional circumstances.
"Now that everyone is working from home, a bigger and heavier system might have slowed down. CashForecast has functioned perfectly."
Helen Ltd has acquired a lot of experience in a short time about financial management in the time of crisis. Antti Hänninen shares his valuable lessons.
Top tips for handling crisis situations
- Learn from different departments.
The amount of data has to be increased, but it’s no use gathering it haphazardly. The people who handle cash flows in different departments or units have good knowledge of how a crisis can affect them and what should be monitored. Listen to them and make an action plan together.
- Make sure your tools adapt to quickly changing situations.
When the amount of data gathered increases, the best tool is the most automated. Another important feature is fast adaptation and scalability. Don’t implement a wholly new solution in the midst of a crisis. The right time for purchases is when the working environment has stabilised enough. How could you increase the automation in your current system?
- Take note and prepare better.
We are going through the first global crisis in our lifetime. Everyone has been taken by surprise. In the future even small signals should be taken into account. Impact assessment has to start when a potential crisis is still small and local. How could the risk management be improved in your company?
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